SERVE WITNESS STATEMENTS LATE AT YOUR PERIL: RELIEF FROM SANCTIONS NECESSARY AND LATE SERVICE IS NEARLY ALWAYS A SERIOUS BREACH
There are many interesting aspects of the judgment of HHJ Mithani QC in Patel & Anor v Barlows Solicitors (a firm) & Ors  EWHC 2753 (Ch). Here I want to look at the part of the judgment that considers the application for relief from sanctions when witness statements were served late. There are some important reminders about the importance of serving witness statements promptly and properly.
“It cannot be emphasised enough that the requirement to furnish a CPR-compliant statement is no empty formality, not least because there are important consequences for a witness if he says anything in it which he knows is deliberately false.”
The claimants were bringing an action seeking a declaration that certain moneys paid over in a settlement belonged to them in full or in part. Some of the Defendants’ witnesses were served late.